The Magician & The Wheel of Fortune
The High Priestess & Justice
The Empress & The Hanged Man
The Emperor & Death
The Hierophant & Temperance
The Lovers & The Devil
The Chariot & The Tower
Strength & The Star
The Hermit & The Moon
Ones & Nines
Twos & Eights
Threes & Sevens
Fours & Sixes
In The Numerical Tarot:
The Star is
STRENGTH & THE STAR
The key word to remember for both of these cards is energy! You will recall that in the Cosmic Engine analogy (seen elsewhere on this site), energy and space displaced became the products of consumed time and motion, thus leading all 1 thru 9 progressions to an explosive end at the number 8 (see Significant Signature of Nature elsewhere on this site). On the positive ameliorate side of the Rider/Waite/Smith deck, we see the consistent, ascending energy of the Strength card, while on the negative deteriorate side we have the distant fading energy of The Star. Both these cards represent the energy of the explosive 8, but in ameliorate and deteriorate ways.
Over the head of the woman in the Strength card is a figure known as a cosmic lemniscant. It symbolizes the flux of energy, and its connection to motion, time and space, in mobius-like fashion. The idea of a woman holding open the mouth of a lion symbolizes the magnitude of the energy involved. In early decks, the card of strength was seen more often in position 11, currently held, in the Rider Waite Smith deck by Justice. In the Rider Waite deck, these cards of Justice and Strength were swapped. One theory for why comes from astrology, and the idea that when aligning the trumps with the zodiac, the sign of Libra comes closest to position 11, and the sign of Leo comes closest to position 8. When such an association is made, it reinforces the idea being presented here, that this is a card of energy... solar energy! Leo is the sign of summer sun. This is a card of that kind of solar energy and activity. The fact that the lion does not appear to be struggling is an indication that this strength of energy is spiritual as well as physical, enabling the woman's spiritual powers of concentration to dominate, or be one with, the spirit of the lion.
It's possible that the idea of a woman dominating the spirit of a lion came from the biblical image of angels protecting Daniel after being locked in a pit full of lions [Daniel 6:12]. Or... perhaps the image was an adaptation of Sampson tearing apart a lion on his way to Timnah [Judges 14.5-6] where "The spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him." This kind of sudden burst of enormous energy - like an adrenaline rush, is a good symbol for this position, (altho the impetuous nature of Sampson's act might put its goodness in question, that of course is subjective). At best, the card of Strength represents a consistent repetition of orgasmic, explosive conclusions that result in an even flow of life giving energy (culminating energy). At its worst, it represents the hyperactivity of an overdose, like too much caffeine.
As we speak of sudden bursts of energy, we move on to The Star card, which represents, to The Numerical Tarot, the final burst-of-energy phenomenon seen in the progression of all dying entities (see Significant Signature of Nature elsewhere on this site). This final exhaustion of energy is symbolized by the deliberate and direct pouring of water from the vessels held in the woman's hands. Pouring onto land and water includes physical as well as mental exhaustion. While her naked body symbolizes the waste of energy that occurs on a cold night without cover. The ibis in the background is symbolic of Thoth who recorded the souls of the dead, thus confirming that we are following a progression of cards devoted to a progression toward death.
Sometimes the Star card is labeled 'Hope' because of the sudden return to life that occurs during the burst-of-energy phenomenon of dying entities. At best this card can be thought of that way, the final burst of energy that puts you over the top. At its worst it symbolizes wasted energy, no hope, and the depression and helplessness that goes with it, (terminating energy). Perhaps, even though it is usually illustrated with a naked woman, we could still equate this image with the hardships of Job [Job 30:16].
As a symbol of hope, we can observe how a sense of hope usually comes in tandem with a sense of desperation and hopelessness. In The Numerical Tarot deck, with its parallel 9 path of Majors, we can see this tandem idea of hope and desperation by imagining that the star we see in the night sky of the Star card is the energy of the parallel partnered 8 that we place on the positive side of our parallel layout - i.e. the Strength card... only, in this case, seen from a distance... at night. In this way, the Star card literally represents a faint glimmer... of hope, as the energy of the positive 8 (Strength) is seen from afar... at night. So it is, that on this negative path of darkness, we look to the positive energy of an 8 that is full of life. That 8 is the card of Strength... at a distance... at night. Is it too far away? Is it a faint glimmer or still viable enough to offer hope?
IN THE ISOMORPHIC TAROT DECK, the naked woman of the Star card is seen pouring her vessels out, while the hand of a death figure blinds her eyes, to symbolize the dark and confined space of this negative deteriorate position. This death figure is also seen, pulling from the woman's chest, a symbol of her last ounce of energy, squeezing it dry like a sponge in front of her, symbolizing the terminating energy, desperation and hopelessness of a bad negative 8. I title the card Desperation, the Hopeless Sickling.
On the other side, I symbolize the Strength card with an elated dancer in a diaphanous gown, being lifted from a panoramic mountain top by a radiant spiritual image of herself. Her dancing symbolizes the energy of this position, while the panoramic view symbolizes the idea of open space. The diaphanous gown and lifting off into the heavens symbolizes the light and airy feelings of climactic, culminating energy. I title my ameliorate positive 8 Exhilaration, the Enlightened Enthusiast.
NOTE: Go to the DECK section of this site, to learn more about the NAMES and titles of this deck and how they are picked to describe a gridded pattern that utilizes extremes and in-betweens. Each card in this deck is but one possible expression on a spectrum of possibilities. There is a lot more to learn, than what is being shown here.